Citizen Without A Country (2017Mar31)


America1st_03

Friday, March 31, 2017                                            9:50 AM

The repeal of North Carolina’s HB2 is no repeal—it simply removes the rally-point word ‘transgender’ from the new bill—which still allows discrimination and eternal foot-dragging by the State. In spite of pressure from colleges and businesses, nationally, who oppose North Carolina’s puritanical homophobia—at the risk of their own bottom-lines—North Carolina has reworded their bias into a bill that repeals only the use of the word ‘transgender’, not their control over who ‘goes’ where.

This is similar to Trump’s 2nd (and still blocked) Muslim ban, which changed only in that it removed the word ‘Muslim’ from the ban. The hate-fueled neo-cons of recent ascendance care nothing for the disapproval of the courts or the business establishments, much less the people they affront. Even when they get a rolled-up newspaper across the snout, they still try to hang-dog their way around them to resume eating their own feces.

And ‘bad dogs’ are an apt comparison, as they prove incapable of sensing their own immorality, turning puppy eyes on the nation, as if to say, “Why would you deny me this?” When Trump tweeted that he’d been ‘tapped’, he was trying to claim that having his peoples’ side of conversations with foreign-spies-under-surveillance should have been redacted. Even for Trump, that’s some childish hypocrisy, on the level of ‘wasn’t me—the cat broke the cookie jar’.

America1st_02

Meanwhile, he continues to kick down the sand-castle of Obama’s legacy—undoing both environmental and civil protections whose only crimes are that they annoy some entitled industrialists—and bigots who still resent having had a black president. The totality of the evil in Trump and the Republicans is overpowering—they haven’t a single decent motivation amongst them. We are literally being governed by our enemy—while they ‘investigate’ their own ties to the enemy.

I hope all you Trump supporters out there are comfortable with the term ‘traitor’—because that’s what you are, that’s what he is, that’s what making a “law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is. I won’t even be able to think of this place as the United States of America any longer, until and unless we get him out of there, and elect a Democrat majority to Congress in 2018. Until then, we live in the Trump-Reich.

America1st_01

Be More Careful Next Time (2017Mar28)


Creatures_03

Tuesday, March 28, 2017                                        12:21 PM

I think Fascism may have been a temper tantrum that Western Civilization threw after their God died. They thought, “Well, we can’t worship the unseen anymore—let’s worship ourselves—or our leaders.” Capitalism, too, seems to have become a tawdry equivalent—“Money is life, so worship money above all else.” But the Earth has always provided us with much more than we give ourselves, or can buy with money—if worshipping Gaea wasn’t such an old, primitive meme, it’d get more play in the West. Instead, many choose Trump—a crossbreed of Fascism and Capitalism.

Still, we don’t need to worship the Earth—taking care of it would be sufficient—not poisoning it or chopping it down would do the trick. Ironically, that which connects us inexorably to the planet is the thing that makes us destroy it—we are animals. Born in blood and feces, breastfed, raised on roasted flesh, making waste, making babies, striving, fighting, and dying—take away the clothes and the gadgets, we’re just a bunch of animals. And when we’re asked to control ourselves, we claim ‘freedom’ and do whatever we want, instead.

It’s true—nothing makes me want to start a fight more than someone else saying, ‘control yourself’. Language becomes a cage, and when it starts to close in, we shout our way out. That’s what all that shouting on TV news is about—animals trying to break out of the cage of facts, rationalizing their predations as if their lives depended on it. You’ll notice that everyone stays calm until their reality is attacked—that’s when the confrontation comes, when they’re challenged. It no longer fascinates, or even frustrates, me—it just makes me sick and tired.

Trump and his gang make a big deal of manners—manners make it okay to condemn a statement without denying anything in the statement. That they are the rudest bunch of thugs seems to escape their notice, interstitially. They talk down to the whole country—but still puff themselves up and stand on ceremony whenever anyone else approaches frankness. I’d never thought of hypocrisy as a lifestyle choice before this administration came in. It’s endlessly embarrassing to see the depths of ignorance and self-service to which Trump, his gang of traitors, and the Republicans as a group, are willing to stoop.

It’s almost funny—if they weren’t so desperately self-involved, they could see for themselves how utterly transparent their cynical mendacity is to the rest of us. If there was ever a perfect example of the adage ‘be careful what you wish for’, Trump is it. That crowd of fools, who so ferociously rejected the female candidate, were just enough to get Trump through the Electoral College—and now that he’s in office, it seems that the delusional chaos of his campaign speeches is being transcribed to paper, as if he spoke with judgement instead of mere authority.

I can guarantee that a referendum, tomorrow, on President Trump would remove him from office—but we are so used to getting a usable President that we have no machinery to dispose of a broken one that snuck in by accident. Any other elected office would be vulnerable to a referendum, but when you’re the President, you’re the one who calls for it—I hope we’ve all learned a lesson here. Be more careful when you vote for a president, from now on. They ‘investigate’ themselves, once sworn in—when we should have done so, prior to the election.

Creatures_02

But that stuff isn’t news at all—the sudden, precipitous rise in the level of lies and stupidity is a shock—but it’s really just the old way, with a super-charger on the Evil. Government has never been totally innocent or idealistic—but it’s insistence on the pretense of civility has worn so thin it’s transparent, or gone completely, really, when you see the Administration’s latest antics and mouthings. The treacly bonhomie that Sean Spicer was giving off today was more nauseating than his rudeness-fit faux-pas from yesterday—that clown is no actor—and I have no more stomach for smiling hypocrisy than for angry cynicism.

We have a representative government—but because of the Electoral College, our current administration represents the most resentful and ill-educated third of the voters—and the voters themselves were only half the number of eligible voters. At this point, we should make voting a legal requirement, like jury duty—sure, we’d be forcing the more irresponsible people to participate, but being irresponsible is better than being foolish enough to vote for that profiteering Russian puppet, Trump.

Creatures_01

The Infamous Lying President (2017Mar27)


Monday, March 27, 2017                                        10:26 AM

Another week, another bunch of stuff will happen—I’m gonna try not to get too upset about any of it. Used to be, if I didn’t follow current events, I felt I was being careless—now, the news isn’t so much ‘events’, as machinations.

Back in the Seventies, if a candidate was suspected of colluding with Russia, we wouldn’t still be discussing it on the news, three months into their elected term—we’d find out—and PDQ. And just what level of stupidity is Trump assigning us when he tries to characterize the incidental collection of info from his team, during surveillance of Russian spies—as him being under surveillance? Opposite day is over, Donny—turning the truth inside out only works during a campaign—not while serving in office.

Meanwhile, Trump is the hand we’re watching—while the other hand, the GOP Congress, pushes through crap legislation for their donors—dumping coal waste in local streams and hunting bears in hibernation. Who are these evil monsters and who the hell is dumb enough to elect them?

Public education, which made this country the greatest nation on Earth—and by example led every other country to higher literacy and science research—has become a libtard scam? Seems pretty clear to me what the real scam is—profiteer politicians who don’t care about our civic health.

And what’s this new BS about ‘accesses’? Access to health care, or access to education—is code for ‘you can buy it, if you have the money’. Nobody is fooled by this cynical word-play. Yet these duplicitous ‘conservatives’ still get equal time on the news to spread their completely transparent BS and misdirection. Even MSNBC, a supposedly leftist news channel, gives these hypocrites an unconscionable freedom to deliver their used-car-sales spiel all day, every day.

It is long past time for the news to stop representing evil as the ‘other side’ of an issue—truth will out—but if you run a cable news service, it will ‘out’ only between equal parts of lies. Those spin-doctors are slick—I’ll give’em that—but once their BS is deconstructed, it’s still blatant BS. Trump has really ridden that horse hard—that’s why he’s famous as the lying president.

Still, I can’t figure out why exactly it’s taking so long to settle this question of our president being a traitor. Is it because the case is really that complicated—or are we just too embarrassed to admit how badly we’ve been bamboozled?

Latest Offerings   (2017Mar25)


Saturday, March 25, 2017                                        2:26 PM

Cover: “Can’t Smile Without You”

This weekend started with a bang—but it sucks that we have to get our jollies from seeing our criminal president and his cynical Congress get their asses kicked. If only we could acquire the knack of electing statespersons instead of lickspittles. Well, there’s supposedly a surge of young women getting into politics as both activists and candidates, so maybe our choices will improve in future—let’s hope so. Not that men can’t produce the occasional Al Franken or Tim Kaine, but such men are rare as hen’s teeth on the beltway, or in state legislatures. Women can hardly hurt things.

Improv – Spring Dance

 

But enough about worldly matters. Oh, one last thing—the ‘Spring Dance’ video I posted today includes pictures of the grandbaby at her first Women’s March in San Jose—such a cute little protestor! There are also shots of the princess (and family) at her first California vineyard wine-tasting and a St. Paddy’s celebration. Even more exciting are the videos of her first attempts at crawling—that kid’ll be mobile any day now—poor parents.

Cover: “Who Needs to Dream”

 

These videos have taken me two weeks to get posted—I’m slowing down some, lately. But even without the cheat-factor of using cute baby pictures in the video, I think the music is okay—as always, it’s the best I can manage. I yam wot I yam, as Popeye would say.

Improv – Retro-Chrome

 

I’ve recorded the Barry Manilow covers before, but I enjoy them so I did them over again. Barry is the king of schmaltz—and I’m a big fan, even if my playing (and singing) doesn’t show it.

Improv – Hymnal

 

I guess I’ll have to get busy at the piano—these six new videos represent only a part of the pile of pix and video that’s been coming from Jessy lately—and I can’t show you all the baby cuteness until I have music to go with it. Still, I think what I’ve posted today should keep up anyone’s cuteness quota for awhile.

Improv – Haunted House Blues

 

Okay, I’m done—please enjoy these latest offerings.

 

ttfn.

Information Analysis   (2017Mar23)


allegovirtunvice

Thursday, March 23, 2017                                                7:16 PM

There’s a new industry—information analysis for public consumption—you can see it in the deer-in-the-headlights look of recent guests of shows like The Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and Real Time with Bill Maher—people whose life up until now consisted of research, data analysis and synthesis, in quiet, dusty offices, are suddenly guests on a TV talk show.

Sometimes they’ve written a book, but just as often they’ve had an article published in a newspaper—either way, they’ve spent months, perhaps years, doing research on some overlooked, obscure, but important piece of our civic life. News today has a cornucopia of subjects, many of them medical, scientific, financial, legal, or something equally complex—and that complexity increases by an order of magnitude when we get down to cases—specific aspects of Antarctic microbiology effected by climate change, perhaps, or the difficulties of fighting the spread of Zika when each municipality has its own mosquito-spraying schedule.

And it’s more than an understanding of principles, either on laymen’s terms or as a professional expert—there’s an overabundance of data to deal with as well. Congressional bills run to the thousands of pages of legislation. Unmanned drones send back data from Pluto that will keep astronomers busy analyzing it for years to come. Wikileaks dumps thousands of pages of raw, hacked text and data—friend or foe, that stuff doesn’t index and summarize itself. Then there’s the galaxy of social-media texts, pix, likes, emojis, and what-all that can target-market, sociologically analyze, or just plain stalk almost anyone under the age of thirty.

There’s a lot of information floating around. If there weren’t, perhaps we’d have less trouble with the creeps that insert disinformation into the social conversation—misrepresenting a person or group for purely partisan aims. But it would seem that someone has to go looking for that stuff—I mean, the fact that it’s out there also speaks to the fact that a lot of people want their prejudices confirmed by an authoritarian media voice, no matter how shaky their journalistic cred. Their audience pre-dates them—they’re meeting a ‘need’, so to speak.

And the Alt-righters are not alone in seeking comfort. Americans are glued to their I-phones as much to hide from this frightening new world of information, as to make use of it. We can obsessively play video games or surf Instagram all day, take selfies or duck-pose ‘til our eyes bug out—that avalanche of information is still there—even if you don’t look.

The rich people started it—denying that smoking was dangerous so they could keep selling tobacco, denying that drunk-driving was a problem so they could keep selling liquor, and still denying that climate change is a threat when scientists are screaming in their faces. And if they can deny reality, why can’t we? Hey, new cars are expensive as hell—better to say ‘fukkit’ and keep the old gas-guzzler.

There’s much more information being denied than just climate change—the economics of socialized medicine (detached from the vested interests of existing insurers and drug manufacturers), the economics of socialized higher education (including the future cost of an tech-illiterate citizenry)—just name anything where an industry is making a good buck and you’ll find the conversation being steered away from anything that amounts to significant change. This is especially true of finance. And while the unseen machinations of lobbyists are certainly a big threat, the lack of free thought and public conversation about these areas is just as much a roadblock to change.

Some unpleasant folks like to say I’m ‘drinking the Kool Aid’. When Rush Limbaugh tells them that the New York Times is lying to America, but Paul Ryan is as honest as the day is long—then they tell me I’m the one that’s brainwashed—I really can’t respond. I might as well be trying to explain things to a cow. But, again, it comforts them to believe that they are right in their prejudices. It’s almost frustrating enough for me to want the consequences to hurry up and show themselves—if my words are useless, maybe reality can convince them. But that’s a pyrrhic victory of the worst kind—I get to say ‘I told you so’ while we all die—not much of a win there.

Here’s the problem—the world has gotten complicated—and crowded—don’t forget, overpopulation is still a global issue, even with first-world birthrates in decline—and we, instead of embracing that unpleasant consequence, are creating a world of doubt and rumor, where the nasty facts can’t reach us. But that is like avoiding the doctor when you don’t feel well—it’s a bad idea. While we’re putting off facing the problem, it’s just metastasizing.

I wish we could put all these fake-news-zombies to one side, and get everyone else to huddle up, and say, ‘look, we know this is real—fuck those people—let’s do something before we all die’. Wouldn’t that be nice? Politics today seems to be the art of avoiding just such a come-to-Jesus moment. And it’ll work fine—until Jesus comes to see us.

I think we need to take a hard look at the paradox of the Internet—its vulnerability to hacking makes it unreliable—so why are we in such a hurry to rely on it? As it stands, the Internet just adds another layer of confusion on top of an already confusing situation.

But the main problem remains the intersection of the power of government and the power of money—their relationship should be, to some degree, adversarial—the age of assuming that what’s good for business is good for the country is long past—and we need to face that, too.

avarice

My Work Is Done (2017Mar23)


Thursday, March 23, 2017                                                10:54 AM

I haven’t been blogging much lately—my health prevents me from exerting myself and it has been worse lately. My blogging, and the obsessing over politics that spurs it on, have really taken their toll—railing against the current tidal wave of lies and corruption for the last several years is a job for a young firebrand, not a beaten-down, disabled shut-in. The stress of watching America fall victim to its worst ‘side’ is exhausting.

Besides, I feel America catching up with me—why should I blog when I’ll simply be echoing the Wall Street Journal’s latest op-ed? With the majority of America up in arms over the reality of ‘Prez Trump’, my work is done. In fact, my obsessing over how we screwed the voting pooch is actually a step backward—and I lack the energy to keep up with the torrent of fresh lies and counter-lies from the alt-right, over TrumpCare, Russian-colluding treason, hiring his kids, and disavowing every non-shooting government program.

If only the alt-right could disseminate logic with the excellence they display in spreading ‘talking points’—imagine. The 37%’s latest jab is to tell me to keep ‘drinking the Kool Aid’. I can’t imagine what sources they use to determine that observed reality is the product of deluded followers of some hippy agenda. Neither can I fathom how these yahoos miss the fact that they support the wealthy 1%, when at least 36% of them can’t be a part of them—and will be just as poorly served by government cuts as we ‘kool-aid drinkers’.

Here are some thoughts from the past week that I hadn’t the strength to post before today:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017                                            5:00 AM

Politics? What the hell am I doing worrying about politics? Could I be less socially active? I don’t think so. Could I be further from involvement in current events? Not and keep breathing, no.

And all this time I’ve got piano music and videos of my granddaughter learning to crawl, as alternatives. Why I would waste a moment’s time on filthy politics is totally beyond me. I guess I’m just mad because it used to be safe to ignore politics—ethical failings on both sides and reluctance to change used to guarantee that elections wouldn’t mean much.

But the combination of lobbyist seepage and Russian bot-attacks have hacked our democracy—and now we have a huge disconnect between what the majority of Americans support and what the politicians claim needs to be done. And now, to quote John Oliver, the list of program-cuts scrolls up the screen “like the end-credits to America”.

What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is hard to understand? A Muslim Ban is as un-American as rotten-apple pie—it is the antithesis of the freedom we pretend to stand for. And it offers as much national security as a wall between us and Mexico.

The GOP want to cut social programs out of ‘concern for the taxpayers’—but they don’t intend to lower taxes—instead, that money will be transferred to military spending—as if America doesn’t spend enough on our military already. And a president that compulsively lies doesn’t help a bit. Paying attention to our present politics is intellectual suicide and I warn any sane person away from it.

That goes for the media as well—when they start trying to get our attention by saying ‘ten stories that have nothing to do with Trump’, you know they’ve long ago lost any sense of perspective. This is America, not the fucking Trump Show. Besides, what’s worse: an insane president, or a significant proportion of voters insane enough to elect him? We have the media to blame for both.

But which media did the most damage—the mainstream media, with its venal fascination with Trump’s idiotic rallies—or the alt-right media, with its delusional conspiracies and Russian Twitter-bots? That’s a tough call. Both doubled-down on their HRC-bashing (with a little help from Comey at the FBI)—one supposes because she was the only candidate with both a career-record and a coherent policy-agenda. Both failed to represent Trump as pure psycho liar and con man. It’s a tough call—we’d be our own worst enemy—if we didn’t have an actual enemy, in Putin.

Monday, March 20, 2017                                        6:21 PM

Angela Merkel gave him the well-deserved fish-eye—the Iraqi leader nervously tried to joke with the guy—Britain, as one voice, said he was patently ridiculous—are we embarrassed yet? Or does making America ‘great’ again include reverting to our condescending attitude toward every other country—which renders his buffoonery a moot issue?

So, let’s see, who do we not care about now? Well, there’s women, there’s poor people, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, minorities, students, old people, sick people, scientists, judges, journalists, artists, environmentalists, Democrats, and anyone who isn’t legally an American citizen, no matter where they live. Oh, and Trump supporters—let’s not forget how he wants to shaft them, too.

As fast as journalists, congressional committees, and intelligence agencies can put the lie to Trump’s tweets, he tweets out new re-hashings of those lies—if he wasn’t in the White House, we’d all be highly amused by now. As it is, unfortunately, we don’t know whether to impeach him for treason, impeach him for lying, or impeach him for insanity. Trump’s tactics abide—send a tidal wave of bullshit out into the media and let the adults scramble to align it (or not) with reality—meanwhile, who knows what evil nonsense is going on behind closed doors.

It’s very effective—as long as the GOP keeps its devil’s bargain with him—allowing his madness as long as he supports their vampire-like legislation. Should they ever awaken from their ethical coma, perhaps something could be done—but they haven’t finished using him yet.

Pack of Dogs (2017Mar17)


magrittepipe

Friday, March 17, 2017                                            8:51 AM

I can’t say enough bad things about the Trump administration, or the Republicans who collaborate with him. I could simply describe what they’ve been doing, or, thankfully, what they’ve been trying to do (judges have, so far, held back his most traitorous executive orders). It makes my blood run cold.

And the evil goes so deep—first there’s Trump and his coterie—a ranker bunch of troglodytes is hard to imagine—but then there’s the Republican Congress as well, quietly doing even worse, more long-lasting damage to this country. Then there’s the barrage of hypocritical distractions—like Trump’s ‘Obama tapped me’ claim, or his wishful thinking about the media being unreliable. Then there’s the gutting of the State Department’s career lifers—the institutional memory of government—and the firings of Federal D.A.s—including the one who was investigating Trump. And the rolling-back of Obama’s last six months of legislation—for no reason other than it being Obama’s.

The perfect storm of a popular criminal winning popularity, the media’s lobotomy over HRC’s fitness to serve, and the extreme partisanship of the GOP, making them willing to go along with Trump’s mendacity—all of this puts our country in the hands of the worst bunch of cronies imaginable. One of these assholes actually used the word ‘compassionate’ when talking about cutting the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program.

I don’t think we can wait for grounds for impeachment—we need a national referendum on our confidence in Trump as head of state—followed by a special election. Otherwise, we stand on ceremony while this pack of dogs chews up America’s best furniture.

And that’s the trouble, isn’t it? You and I—we’re capable of feeling shame, capable of feeling a sense of responsibility, unable to see ourselves as better than our neighbor, unable to ignore ethics. What a disadvantage that puts as at! We’re like an old-fashioned guy, who’s too much a gentleman to strike a lady, facing off against a deranged bitch with a razor. We need to climb on our high horse, to strike down this monster with all the justifiable outrage of good Americans.

All that’s needed is a consensus that Trump is beyond the pale, that he is a mistake we made—we don’t need to wait politely for four years—we need to act. I call for a national referendum and a vote of no confidence in this pig masquerading as our leader. Or we can wait until they’ve done all the damage they can—and spend the next twenty years struggling to get back to where we were three months ago.

20160702XD-RevWar_03